Oakville Zen Meditation

#391 Awareness vs thinking March 20th 22

               Awareness vs Thinking

I am thinking hard to control my thoughts and emotions but I cannot succeed. So, what should I do said the student:

“Don’t do,...... just be....... and you will achieve control of your mind..” replied the teacher.

To control or even to be free of our thoughts and feelings is not really a big job but a small one.

Al you need is to be aware of them, as they happen one by one. Nothing else.

Let me go thru the logic of the statement:

The student said: “ I am thinking hard”

It means the act of doing something that is thinking hard- and this is what the teacher condemns.

“Just be” means simply to be aware/ to pay attention to something in a mindful way,  that is to observe something as it is.

So, in that sense, it is true that there is nothing we can do per-se to become free from thoughts and emotions as the student was complaining.

When the shift happens that is the shift from thinking -that is doing -, to simple awareness

-that is being – one stage, greater than your cognitive /emotional intelligence will appear in your life.

In other words, you are shifting from being the listener of your mind to the watcher.

They are 2 types of awareness:

One is passive and part of our memory database. “ Oh yes, I am aware that John Doe is in hospital”

The other one is active, pure consciousness, sort of thoughtless and emotionless focusing.

When the teacher says: “Just be” she/he means be aware /paying attention to your thoughts and emotions as they appear.

No analysis, judgment, and decision. This is mindfulness, observing things, people, and events as they are.

Just be means you become a mirror, reflecting the outputs of your intellectual/emotional mind independently and outside its control.

Being aware and cultivating awareness mean that awareness takes over our powerful cognitive and emotional thinking often driven by the ego.

Practicing awareness is making you free from this overthinking.

You become master of your mind rather than its servant all your life.

Once you have a glimpse of awareness and practice it continuously, you will know it firsthand.

It is no longer just a concept in your mind but a way of life in which the ego-centered mind is under control rather than the opposite.

Awareness is pure consciousness that is exempted from the noise of our intellectual and emotional minds.

Obviously, thinking and emotions are obviously necessary for life, but only when analysis, judgment, and decision must be made.


Thinking is doing something whereas being aware has nothing to do with doing something.

The moment you start watching your thoughts and feelings you are practicing awareness.

A higher level of consciousness is activated that is one beyond the usual mental one.

When you wash your hands, make a cup drink coffee, wait for the elevator, instead of being trapped

in thinking, all of these are opportunities to experience awareness of the moment in a still and alert presence.

Learning to pay attention to our ongoing daydreaming noise w/o an automatic analytic process is not easy, but with discipline and practice, you will realize what mental and emotional freedom means.